Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas)


Family:                    Chelonidae.

Status:                     Endangered.

Size:                        Up to 5 ft. in length; weight up to 400 lbs.

Diet:                        Omnivore.

Characteristics:        Solitary.

Area:                       Worldwide.

Offspring:                100 to 200 eggs per clutch.



·       There are seven species of sea turtles around the world.

·       A group of turtles is called a bale of turtles.

·       The green sea turtle gets it name from the colour of its flesh.

·       Green sea turtles are unable to completely retract their heads and necks into their shells.

·       European sailors killed many of the green sea turtles for food in the 1800s.

·       Studies have shown that the green sea turtle is the most frequently killed marine animal, but not the most endangered.



The green sea turtle is one of the largest turtles in the sea. Although the juveniles are omnivorous, adult green sea turtles are strictly herbivorous, their favourite food being the sea grass found in shallow waters near the coast. Their legs are shaped liked paddles and enable them to swim extremely quickly underwater. Although they need to come up for air eventually, green sea turtles can stay submerged for up to five hours. They move slowly and awkwardly on land, and rarely leave the water except during nesting season, when the female deposits her eggs on the land. Males are distinguishable from females by their large size and their tails, which are longer and extend from underneath the shell. Green sea turtles are extremely vulnerable to predation.



Green Sea Turtles can be found throughout the tropical and sub-tropical waters of the world. They stay mostly in the shallow waters near the shorelines, but will venture deeper to migrate.



Mating occurs underwater but close to shore, and the female is able to lay several nests of eggs throughout the year from mating the one time. When it is time for the female to lay her eggs, she crawls up onto the beach and uses her flippers to dig as deep as she can. Females often use the same beaches every year, and often the same beach as her mother and grandmother used. Within the cavity, she lays from 100 to 200 eggs and laying them may take hours at a time. When she’s finished, she covers them back up to keep them warm and to protect them from predation. She does not return. Approximately 1.5 to 2.5 months later, the babies break through the shell using an egg tooth, which will disappear within the next few months. They immediately crawl up out of the hole and make their way to the water. Eggs and juveniles are heavily preyed upon, with mammals digging up the eggs and eating them, or eating the soft-shelled juveniles as they head towards the water. Approximately 2 percent of the eggs will reach adulthood. In the water, there are more predators such as sharks, kingfish and dolphins. The lifespan of a green sea turtle can be more than fifty years.